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Growth & Jobs | ENDS can bring more informal operators into formal economy - business leaders

Published:Tuesday | April 6, 2021 | 12:19 AM
Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Richard Pandohie.
Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Richard Pandohie.
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Distant Jr.
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Distant Jr.
Jerked chicken vendor Kevin Simpson preparing the popular delicacy at his business establishment in Harbour View, Kingston. Micro and small entrepreneurs like him are among the stakeholders targeted under the E-Commerce National Delivery System (ENDS).
Jerked chicken vendor Kevin Simpson preparing the popular delicacy at his business establishment in Harbour View, Kingston. Micro and small entrepreneurs like him are among the stakeholders targeted under the E-Commerce National Delivery System (ENDS).
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Business sector leaders say the E-Commerce National Delivery System (ENDS) can potentially assist in revolutionising economic activity in Jamaica, by facilitating the transition of more informal operators into the formal sector.

ENDS is a partnership between the Government and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

It allows the quick service industry and delivery operators registered on the web-based platform to operate until midnight during the hours of the curfew, which has been imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 infections.

The pilots got under way in Portmore, St Catherine, on March 26, and in Kingston and Montego Bay, St James on April 2.

Small Business Association of Jamaica President Michael Leckie told JIS News that the initiative augurs well for commercial activity in terms of enhancing service delivery and regularising the operations of informal entrepreneurs.

BEST WAY FORWARD

“It is the best way forward, especially for persons in the food and restaurant industry, especially the corner shops. If we can encourage and facilitate delivery services for customers, who only need to place a call to an individual or establishment, in light of what we are now experiencing with the rate of COVID-19 infections and the resulting curfews to reduce the spread, then that’s the best route to go,” he said.

Leckie also believes that more informal operators will be encouraged to regularise their operations.

“I believe that where persons see the benefits to be derived, we will have more individuals who are operating informally, buying into the concept and being more convinced that they can move from informal to becoming formal,” he said.

Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Richard Pandohie describes ENDS as an “excellent initiative,” noting, “I think it is part of the whole progress towards getting (informal businesses) registered.”

“You have to be (registered to participate) … and I think it also augurs well in the Government’s thrust towards transitioning Jamaica to a fully digital economy,” he said.

Noting that the concept is already being successfully utilised in commerce locally, Pandohie says ENDS represents the format’s elevation to the national level.

“I think it’s a [big] move, and I really hope the vendors and other stakeholders really capitalise on it. I think they’ll be really amazed by their successes in doing so,” he added.

Jamaica Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Distant Jr said that in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19, “It’s good to see something like ENDS being developed,” adding, “we hope that it delivers the kind of benefits that are expected”.

For his part, business analyst Warren McDonald said the decision to introduce the initiative indicates that “we’re moving in the right direction,” as it will serve to regularise the operations of more informal entrepreneurs.

“It’s a good idea and we certainly should strive for its success,” he added.